Lettuce on top or bottom? A hunger for absolute control at the sandwich counter

by Garfield Marks

I do not remember if my parents put the lettuce on my hamburger before the tomato or afterwards. It was almost 50 years ago, but I doubt if I ever thought about it.

Apparently it is a big issue to a customer at the local burger joint. Why not just flip it over? Allergies? Sensitive taste buds? I do not know, but it was important, apparently.

Years ago, when fast food joints were becoming popular, restaurants would make batches of items and you were leery of getting a burger or fries that had been sitting too long. You order a special alteration and you believed you were getting freshly cooked food. If that was true then it is seldom true in today’s restaurants. On demand time management planning and open concepts means fresher foods and usually you can see them cook your foods.

Fast food restaurants, to me is a quick and convenient way to quell hunger pains. They are not there to tantalize my taste buds or to fill my nutritional needs, but to fulfil a maintenance function.

Now the customer with the lettuce issue was a younger person and one could think it was a generational thing but then I made the next error.

I let a little old lady go ahead of me. She had specific instructions about every stage of preparation of her order. I was looking for the hidden camera and some jokester jumping out telling me to smile.

I tend to avoid certain sandwich restaurants because there are too many questions. Now when I order a steak, I do tend to want it a bit rarer than most but in another country I tend to want it cooked a bit more, unless it is a more well-known place. That is just to be safe.

What is it? Why is it that the order of food placement, lettuce on top, mayo before mustard became so important?

Have we become so obsessive compulsive that we cannot handle even the smallest of change?

A person suggested it is a control issue. We need to be in control, over the staff, the business, the meal. Is that what it is?

Is it just small-mindedness? I do not know.

I do know that I got a tasty burger at a good price and I did not feel hungry anymore.

Darn it, I never looked to see if the lettuce was on top of the tomato.

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